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Lambda_BM

Luggable Form Factor X16

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Posted (edited)

I just finished watching Perifractic's video on the Commodore SX64, and had an idea tha I would like to "get out there", so to say. What if there was a luggable form factor X16? I'm willing to attempt to design a luggable case in the style of the SX-64 for the X16, and by extension, any µATX board one would want to add. It would feature a either 5 or 7 inch 4:3 ratio LCD, 2 5 1/4 inch slots for whatever drives one might want to add, and the standard stuff on the back. I plan on doing this, at least for my X16 when I get one, but depending on the interest here, I might post further updates on the design or even sell them, but sales would likely be a distant future type thing. Also, key word in the designing is attempt; I'm not too good at 3D design, and this would be the literal 3rd 3D modeling project I'll've done, but I'm willing to give it a go and improve along the way. 

Edited by Lambda_BM

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I appreciate the ideas. But it's the details where this sort of idea falls apart. As mentioned in the FAQ, if you look at other retro projects that went with a bespoke case, they had over a year, nearly 2 years delay added to the project due to problems with their own manufacturing. It isn't something the X16 team wishes to take on. 3D printing, as you mention, also isn't viable. I'm happy to leave this here as a feature request however. Never say never. Feel free to noodle on ideas, and we can see what the future brings. Thanks.

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Posted (edited)

While I would personally love a luggable form factor x16 (I am still somewhat thinking of making myself a SX-64 mini) - I am somewhat considered about a cost.

Machining a case would be quite expensive, and 3d printing a whole case of this size doesn't feel right. Maybe a bent metal could be done cheaper? Then 3d printing just the front and back panels and the handle? Not sure. How were you thinking of making it?

Edited by Von_Bednar

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Hi @Lambda_BM, I've moved this to feature requests. We've avoided bespoke cases for reasons detailed in the FAQ. I'd have one question for you at this stage: How would you manufacture it (considering the points detailed in the FAQ)?

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Posted (edited)

I honestly hadn't put much thought into the production of the case, as the idea is still very much new to me, but I did consider 3d printing, but knew it'd be impractical to print the whole case. The bent metal would definitely be a great idea for the top and side cover. As for manufacture, I would consider it limited run, as I consider it a sort of niche thing for a luggable.

Edited by Lambda_BM
Fix typos, added details

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Posted (edited)

I agree with you there, and I'm definitely looking to flesh the idea out more. After all, it's easy to present an idea and find a method to make it, but refining and perfecting that idea and getting it where you want it to be is where the hard part comes in.

Edited by Lambda_BM
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Also have to settle on which size CX16 board. The mini-ITX would be the best bet for finding an existing compact case and then modding it.

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I mean, it would be awesome if there was an "official" luggable case, but I think that's quite far fetched.

I do however like the idea of designing a case that can be made on your own (like the SX-64 mini I linked above, or many other projects from the maker community). My only industrial design expertise is limited to 3D printable stuff, but I bet the community could come up with some unofficial case somewhere down the line 🙂

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Perifractic said:

Hi @Lambda_BM, I've moved this to feature requests. We've avoided bespoke cases for reasons detailed in the FAQ. I'd have one question for you at this stage: How would you manufacture it (considering the points detailed in the FAQ)?

You can have all metal cases cut, bent, and painted for maybe $100 per unit, and industrial monitors should go for a similar number. It's not especially cheap, but not crazy expensive, either. I'd definitely pay the extra $150-200 for something with a 7-10" monitor in a Kaypro II / SX64 form factor. 

These guys will do custom enclosures, for example: 

https://www.protocase.com/price/instant-output.php

Now those are simple, metal boxes.... but it's one way to get a simple, portable enclosure. I've been thinking of building a NuPro (KayPro clone) using one of these enclosures, but a one-off is $300. If I do 10, the price comes down to around $200 each. If we could get 100 or 1000, the per-unit price would drop. 

Maybe that's something to prototype and investigate for the third, FPGA design, since we (interested customers - I don't speak for the CX16 team) could build it in a smaller case - something closer to an oscilloscope, rather than a suitcase sized PC.

 

Edited by TomXP411
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I've been thinking about this since David mentioned the X16 project.  I have some experience with sheet metal and was considering using that and part of an mATX case to house the mobo and a small LCD.  The cutout of the keyboard could be made to create a new latching enclosure for it to mount on the front of the unit similar to SX64 or other portables.  The issue is that while it seems feasible for a one off build, I can't see any case manufacturers getting behind the engineering and production of something like this without a secured number of sales.  It's possible that a successful kickstarter could make that kind of sale with a case manufacturer, but I'm sure that would be a lot of PR phone tag.

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Yeah, I'd love to see alternate, custom cases made by the community, but as @Perifractic said it's probably not to be officially considered until after the initial release. The main goal is to drive the cost and time of manufacturing down, after all, so for now it's just gonna be this stylish PC case. But people would still be allowed to sell their own alternate cases on their own, kinda like the Amiga 1500 case?

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12 hours ago, Juju said:

Yeah, I'd love to see alternate, custom cases made by the community, but as @Perifractic said it's probably not to be officially considered until after the initial release. The main goal is to drive the cost and time of manufacturing down, after all, so for now it's just gonna be this stylish PC case. But people would still be allowed to sell their own alternate cases on their own, kinda like the Amiga 1500 case?

I'm pretty sure we'll get at least two DIY options... I'd be really surprised if there's not an option to buy a naked board, and there has also been talk about a kit version that you can assemble yourself. 

While I have zero interest in soldering everything in myself, I might buy a second, bare motherboard, so I can do something like put it in a project box with a 7" LCD on the front. 

 

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On 7/11/2020 at 12:56 PM, TomXP411 said:

Maybe that's something to prototype and investigate for the third, FPGA design, since we (interested customers - I don't speak for the CX16 team) could build it in a smaller case - something closer to an oscilloscope, rather than a suitcase sized PC.

Yes, something like the back side of the case for a 7" display oscilloscope with a custom front panel would have a handle and be big enough for a mini-ITX board, though if there was an expansion card there would have to be a right angle slot adapter ... and maybe enough space below for 12V battery and one of those compact mini-ITX power supplies. So then the custom front panel that holds the 7" display can also be set up to to hold the keyboard against the face.

oscilliscope_7inch_display.jpg

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I’m interested in seeing any progress anyone may make. I’ve toyed around making a luggable case and such for the Basic Engine. It is MUCH easier to do something like this with since it is only slightly larger than a PI. I’ve built a couple of prototypes out of wood, but have scrapped those. I do have a pretty full woodworking shop that I inherited to use...I just need to develop the skills needed. 
 

 

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